Occupational blood exposure among health care workers: II. Exposure mechanisms and universal precautions

Scand J Infect Dis. 1993;25(2):199-205. doi: 10.3109/00365549309008485.


We investigated mechanisms of mucocutaneous exposure (MCE) and percutaneous exposure (PCE) to blood, and compliance with protective barriers among all former and presently employed medical staff at a Danish Department of Infectious Diseases. All subjects were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire. 135 out of 168 (80%) subjects responded. 37 incidents of PCE and 15 MCE were described. More than 50% of PCE had occurred without obvious explanation during medical procedures, or were caused by unexpected patient movement, while only 1 PCE was caused by recapping. 35% of PCE occurred during drawing of venous blood samples. Compliance with usage of gloves was high (70-100%), depending on the procedure, and 72% of the subjects claimed to have sufficient knowledge of the risk of blood exposure and how to prevent it. Yet 11 (73%) out of 15 MCE might have been prevented by appropriate use of protective barriers. To further reduce the frequency of blood exposure, the development of safer instruments and unceasing education in safer technique and use of protective barriers are of major importance.

MeSH terms

  • Blood / microbiology*
  • Blood Specimen Collection / methods
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • HIV Seropositivity / microbiology*
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Humans
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Needlestick Injuries / etiology
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Personnel, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Specimen Handling / instrumentation
  • Specimen Handling / methods
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Universal Precautions*